Healing Illness

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“O noble goddess, at a time when incalculable and still more incalculable eons – extensive, inconceivable and immeasurable – had passed, at that time, at that moment, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened One called Ratna-shikhin, perfect in wisdom and conduct, gone to bliss, knower of the world, charioteer of men to be tamed, peerless teacher of men and gods, arose in the world.

“O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment when Ratna-shikhin, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened One passed into the state beyond suffering, when his teaching completely disappeared and when there remained just a semblance of teaching, there was a king called Sureshvara-prabha who was virtuous and who ruled his kingdom according to the Dharma and not according to non-Dharma. He was like a mother and father to the beings who lived in his realm.

“O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, there lived in the kingdom of King Sureshvara-prabha a merchant called Jatim-dhara, a doctor and healer, an expert in the elements. He was well versed in the eightfold treatise on medical science. And, O noble goddess, at that time and that moment, the merchant Jatim-dhara had a son called Jala-vahana, handsome, attractive, blessed with an immaculately clear complexion, an expert in various treatises, a master of all treatises, learned in writing, numerology, palm reading and astrology.

“O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, hundreds of thousands of beings in the kingdom of Sureshvara-prabha were afflicted with various diseases. They were oppressed by various diseases; they experienced pain that was unbearably sharp, severe and violent. Then, O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, Jala-vahana the merchant’s son developed a mind of great compassion for the hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with and oppressed by various diseases: ‘These numerous hundreds of thousands of beings are afflicted and oppressed by various diseases. They are experiencing unbearably sharp, severe and violent sensations of suffering. My father Jatim-dhara, a doctor and healer, an expert in the elements, well versed in the eightfold treatise on medical science, is old, in the waning phase, decrepit and dependent upon a walking stick. He is unable to go to villages, cities, settlements, valleys, regions and royal palaces. In order to completely free beings who are afflicted with and distressed by various diseases from numerous ailments, I shall approach and fully consult my father Jatim-dhara on how to become knowledgeable about the elements involved in illness. With this special knowledge I shall go to villages, cities, settlements, valleys, regions and royal palaces and completely free hundreds and thousands of beings from their various sicknesses.’
 
“Moreover, O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, Jala-vahana the merchant’s son went to his father Jatim-dhara. He approached him and bowed at the feet of his father Jatim-dhara, folded his palms in reverence and sat on one side. Remaining on one side, he questioned his father Jatim-dhara in these verses:

How do the senses apprehend objects? How do the elements change? At what time do embodied beings receive elements that cause disease?

How does the eating of food, timely or untimely, effect well-being? By what is the fire in the body not affected?

How is medicine practiced in order to pacify illnesses that have risen from wind and from bile, from phlegm and from a compound of these?

When does wind, when does bile, when does phlegm harmful to beings become active?

“Then the merchant Jatim-dhara revealed to his son Jala-vahana the verses through which one gains mastery of the elements:

See that three months are summer and three are autumn, three are winter and three are spring. Thus the succession of months forms six phases. Twelve months are said to be one year.

Note, three and three are phases in brief; the monthly phase is shown in twos. When food and drink are thus taken and digested, the doctor, elements and phases too are shown.

The senses and elements in turn change in the various phases of the year. As the senses go through such changes afflictions arise for embodied beings.

In that case, a doctor must have knowledge of the three-month fourfold division and the six phase grouping of two months. Food, drink and medicine follow this sequence:

In summer arise illnesses from excess of wind; when autumn comes, bile disturbance occurs; likewise, disease from a compound appears in winter; in spring arise illnesses from excess of phlegm.

Fatty, warm, salty and sour are summer’s tastes; fatty, sweet and cold are fall’s; sweet, fatty and sour are tastes for winter; coarse, warm and bitter for spring.

Excess of phlegm arises soon after eating, excess of bile during digestion time, excess of wind arises soon thereafter; this is how elemental changes occur.

Heal wind in a person with rich, potent food; remove bile by cleansing the bowels; for excess phlegm dispense an emetic; when a compound occurs, thus give potent medicine possessed of three qualities.

Know well in which phases excess wind, bile, phlegm and a compound occur. According to elements, body and time, one thus gives medicine, food and drink.

“Then the merchant’s son Jala-vahana, having inquired about the elements, understood the eight branches of medical science.

“O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, Jala-vahana the merchant’s son went to all the villages, cities, towns, valleys, regions and royal palaces in the land of King Sureshvara-prabha. He comforted those numerous hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with and distressed by various diseases, declaring: ‘I am a doctor! I am a doctor!’ Advertising himself in this way, he gave them relief and said, ‘I will completely free you from every affliction.’

“O noble goddess, as soon as they heard such statements as these from Jalavahana the merchant’s son, those numerous hundreds of thousands of beings were overcome with unfathomable great joy. They received comfort and were endowed with inconceivable happiness, peace and peace of mind. At that time and at that moment, those hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with and distressed by various ailments were completely cured of their illnesses and became free of illness. After becoming free of illness, they became endowed with prowess, strength and energy as before.

“Furthermore, at that time and at that moment, among the hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with and distressed by various ailments, those who were acutely afflicted with severe illness approached Jala-vahana, the merchant’s son. Whatever medicine was prescribed by Jala-vahana the merchant’s son to the hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with various illnesses and distressed by various diseases cured the illnesses of all those beings. Cured of all illness or with their suffering greatly reduced, they became endowed with prowess, strength and energy as before.

“O noble goddess, at that time and at that moment, in the villages, cities, towns, valleys, regions and royal palaces in the kingdom of King Sureshvara-prabha, hundreds of thousands of beings afflicted with and distressed by various diseases were freed completely from their illnesses by Jala-vahana, the merchant’s son.”

This concludes the sixteenth chapter, the Chapter on Healing Illness, from the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.

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